Hands-on Activity Finding Food in the Amazon

Quick Look

Grade Level: 5

Time Required: 1 hour

Expendable Cost/Group: US $0.00

Group Size: 3

Activity Dependency: None

Subject Areas: Earth and Space

A hemp plantation in the UK.
Looking for plants that can be used for food.
Copyright © 2007 Nabokov, Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hemp_plants-cannabis_sativa-single_3.JPG


Students investigate a variety of plants and animals common to the Amazon by conducting research. They determine the plant or animal characteristics that make them edible or useful for the trip and learn to categorize them by comparing similarities and differences.

Engineering Connection

Engineers use critical thinking skills to identify what criteria are important for success and what criteria are not important. Then they make design decisions based on these criteria.

Learning Objectives

  • Conduct a scientific investigation.
  • Research various plants and insects common to the Amazon rainforest.
  • Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

  • Identify and collect information about everyday problems that can be solved by technology, and generate ideas and requirements for solving a problem. (Grades 3 - 5) More Details

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  • Each plant or animal has different structures or behaviors that serve different functions (Grade 2) More Details

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  • Create and evaluate models of plant and/or animal systems or parts (Grade 5) More Details

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  • Define and distinguish between matter and energy, and how they are cycled or lost through life processes (Grades 9 - 12) More Details

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Materials List

Each gr oup needs:

  • 3-4 notecards
  • Amazon Rainforest Pamphlet
  • 3-4 library books about the Amazon rainforest
  • 2 poster boards (or one per student)
  • art supplies, such as scissors, markers, paper

Worksheets and Attachments

Visit [www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/csm_amazon_lesson4_activity1_tg] to print or download.


See the Storyline in Lesson 4.


  • The first step in this activity is to take the class to the library where you may want to read the scenario and then ask the groups to make a notecard (one per student or as the teacher sees fit). The questions on the worksheet are designed to encourage brainstorming and possible ideas for the poster presentation. You may want to discuss them as a class after students have finished gathering information.
  • Below is a list of books you may suggest to students or have in the classroom to aid in their research. Encyclopedias and the Internet are also good resources.

Suggested Books: Piranhas and Other Wonders of the Jungle by Q.L. Piere; The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry; Nature's Green Umbrella: Tropical Rainforests by Gail Gibbons.

  • Make sure each student has identified his/her own organism to research and present to the class.
  • Either have each group present its organisms on one poster, or have students each do a poster for his/her organism.
  • It is suggested to split up the presentation sessions into two 30-45 minute intervals. Display the final products around the classroom to help create an Amazon rainforest environment.


Worksheet: Have each group complete and hand in the worksheet. Review their answers to gauge their depth of comprehension.


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© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Colorado School of Mines

Supporting Program

Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines


Adventure Engineering was supported by National Science Foundation grant nos. DUE 9950660 and GK-12 0086457. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: May 25, 2017

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